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Aphonic Threnody – The Great Hatred Award winner

Aphonic Threnody
The Great Hatred
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 11 October 2020, 3:26 AM

APHONIC THRENODY, formed in 2012,  is a death/doom metal band who is made up an international line up, consisting of musicians from the UK, Italy, and Chile.  “The Great Hatred,” is their third full length album; they have also released three splits and an EP. I could, and will, describe “The Great Hatred,” as an absolutely monumental album.  How-ever, that wouldn’t really do the album true justice.  Not only is it monumental, it is also as deep and black as the deepest, darkest well.   While listening to this album many, many times, I was pulled into it as much as I was the first time I heard it.  Even with a lot of plays, this isn’t an album anyone will tire of quickly.  The reason for that is the stellar song writing, which left me wanting to come back more and more to the many parts of the album. However, as I was coming back to hear again what I’ve already enjoyed, I kept discovering things I had not heard in the songs before.

Despite that, the album thankfully doesn’t sound too muddled or complicated.  There is a lot going on but “The Great Hatred,” just never comes off as bloated or cluttered.  Of course, having the variety this band does certainly doesn’t hurt.  Elements of funeral doom, atmospheric, and even Gothic textures are ingrained to the album’s very fabric. The way the band plays off each other is very clever, such as the lead guitar towards the end of “Locura,” building up alongside the clean, spoken word vocals.  As those vocals turn into a screaming retch, the guitars, bass, and drums build also get more intense. Speaking of “Locura,” the track immediately showcases the band’s overall style and goal for this album.  Around the 2:30, a choir joins the madness before beautifully smooth clean vocals take over—its these little details the band places throughout the album that make it seem more alive, more real than most albums of this style.  The funeral doom elements are there but not in the song lengths—they are not short by any means but they aren’t overly long either.  Every available second is used, and used wisely, for the overall good of the album.

The second track, “Interrogation,” opens with subtle keys, clean guitars and quiet but intense drums.  The distortion kicks in, along with a sweltering miasma of emotions.  The bass holds down the low end while the riffs provide a blackened sea for the lead guitar to sail onto.  The vocals are extremely pained and are the perfect element to lead the song to the twin guitar melodies.   Soon, this Gothic journey ends as the rhythm guitar drops the hammer of heavy. The title track, “The Great Hatred,” has gut wrenching death growls.  This is probably the darkest and heaviest track on the album and some parts, like around the three minute mark, rumbled my headphones enough to make it feel like my head was caving in.  Still, the band approaches such heavy handed aspects with clarity, as evident with the soaring and surprisingly hopeful sounding gui-tar solos.  After the first solo, the song turns truly freighting—the vocals, drums, and riffs just create this dangerous atmosphere that I don’t often hear in doom, as the genre tends to focus on somber and nothing else often times.

Perhaps my favorite track on the album is “Drowning,” because I just love how well the key-boards and guitar melodies entwine with each other for this absolute wall of dirge that is as thick as an early morning fog. The clean instrument/vocal passage in the song’s halfway point is genius as it provides a nice break from the death but still keeps the flow and emotional feel potent as it bridges to the other side, the return of the death/doom.  The death scream at the 8:36 mark sent chills up my spine and froze my blood. “The Rise of the Phoenix,” opens with some thrilling keyboards and rumbling bass, the audio representation of the majestic bird returning to life.   The soulful guitar solos that follows soon after is a welcomed addition, a balance of somber want and maturity of accepting what is.  The clean keys and spoken word is well done—in fact, I found myself enjoying the spoken word passages quite a bit throughout the album.  The melodic guitar solo around the 6:30 mark is beautiful and I loved how the bass was behind it the entire time to keep it honest and let the song retain its darkness.

The final track, “The Fall,” really impressed me with its huge MY DYING BRIDE vibes.  MDB are, in my humble opinion, the best doom band of all time so for APHONIC THRENODY to remind me of them without being a copy cat is a testament to how well the band, and this album, handles the doom genre.  And those screams!  Wow, so fucking out there…scary, wild, raw, archaic...JUAN is one hell of a vocalist.  The middle portion of the song is perhaps the most evil sounding riff on the album, just a to-tally menacing contrast to the song’s earlier more gothic moments.  That harrowing journey is followed by more lush keys and spoken words, the band displaying both dark and light elements with apparent ease.  The ending of the song is almost too good to describe…the soaring solo, epic keys, and death screams just end the album on a bang.

The year is almost over and what a year it has been.  But it has also been a hell of a year for doom as well.  With an album like APHONIC THRENODY’s “The Great Hatred,” I am reminded that good things are still out there and the genre isn’t done yet.  There are so many things to love about this album that I’m afraid that my review can’t even explain it correctly.  An absolutely must have doom metal album that encompasses everything that makes the genre so great and once again shows me why it is my favorite style.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Locura
2. Interrogation
3. The Great Hatred
4. Drowning
5. The Rise Of The Phoenix
6. The Fall
Riccardo Veronese – Guitar
Juan Escobar C. - Vocals, Bass, Guitar Keyboards
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity Records


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Edited 05 February 2023

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